Previous studies on creep suggested a close relationship between polycrystal grain size, substructure, and creep rate. At present, however, our understanding of the influence of polycrystal grain size, substructure, and thermal stress on creep deformation behavior seems rather insufficient, especially as there is a general lack of in situ data on structural changes during creep. In this study, the effects of thermal stress, austenite grain size, and cooling rate on slip deformations in C-Mn-Al steel during annealing were investigated systematically on the basis of in situ observations using high temperature laser scanning confocal microscopy. Finally, a kinetics model based on thermal expansion anisotropy and temperature difference was developed to explain these interesting experimental results. The in situ investigation of slip deformation during annealing greatly contributes to the understanding of high temperature creep behavior.